Maradona’s mad Argentina management spell included two-month ban and ‘betrayal’

It's been over two years since Diego Armando Maradona, arguably the greatest player to ever grace the evergreen, passed away.

And while his feats on the pitch remain unmatched – perhaps best summed up by Jorge Valdano: "No ball ever had a better experience than when it was at his left foot" – his managerial career leaves a lot to be desired.

And yet, like all of Maradona's career, it remains fascinating: from a two-month ban after an outburst to the bitter of brutal when he left. Daily Star Sport looks at Maradona's time in charge of the Argentine national side.

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In 2008, after the resignation of Alfio Basile, Argentina were in a poor position, and they faced the embarrassment of not qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

In their hour of need, Argentina turned to Maradona – whose previous managerial experience had been two short spells during his 15-month doping ban in 1994. On the face of the appointment, it was a baffling decision from the Argentine FA.

And it looked even worse when Argentina were battered 6–1 by Bolivia with just games left of qualification.

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To be fair to Maradona, La Paz isn't the easiest away game with Bolivia's home ground being located 3,600m above sea level.

However, Maradona and Argentina managed to sneak into the World Cup, finishing fourth in the CONMEBOL qualification – narrowly avoiding the inter-continental playoff. And Maradona was quick to tell his doubters about his achievements.

He told journalists to “take it up the a***”, grabbing his crotch and insisting they should “suck it and keep on sucking".

It's fair to say FIFA couldn't turn a blind eye to the outburst, and Maradona was slapped with a fine, a warning, and a two-month ban from all footballing activities.

However, months later – when Maradona was announcing his squad, he ran over a cameraman's leg. He said: "What an a***hole you are! How can you put your leg there where it can get run over?”

Argentina arrived for the first African World Cup having not conquered the world since Maradona himself had been at the peak of his powers at the Estadio Azteca.

Argentina started brightly, winning all three of their group stages clashes against Nigeria, South Korea, and Greece. Maradona remained the star attraction, firing shots at FIFA, Pele, and Michel Platini among others.

It was business as usual in the round of 16 as Mexico were blown away with a brace from Carlos Tevez while Gonzalo Higuain made sure there would be no comeback. However, Argentina were unceremoniously dumped out of the competition by Germany.

Maradona could only stand and watch as his side shipped four goals to the rampant Germans.

Maradona admitted he might walk after the defeat, but later decided he would stay at the helm of the national side.

Argentina had initially looked like they were on the same page as Maradona, but backtracked on their decision when Maradona's contract ran out that same summer. Instead, Daniel Passarella – Maradona's 1986 team-mate – was installed as manager.

Maradona was heartbroken, and he claimed he felt "betrayed" by the whole situation.


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